Saturday, June 12, 2010

How to Save Mildewed Books

I was reading Ask Helosie in the July 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine and a retired kindergarten teacher asked her about some old storybooks she had stored in her basement for her first grandchild. When she went back to look at the books she noticed they had a mildewy smell, but did not notice any mildew on them. Helosie gave her three very good suggestions on getting the mildew smell out of the books.

1. Fan open the pages, sprinkle in some baking soda, and set the books outside in the sun until the smell is gone. (this may take a couple of days, so bring them in at night; also she said not to try this with antique or delicate books). Shake out leftover baking soda and brush off the pages with a microfiber cloth.

2. Put each book (without the baking soda) in an open plastic bag and place it inside the freezer for a few days.

3. Put some activated charcoal (sold for fish tanks)which neutralizes bad odors. Put some in a plastic tub (from margarine, yogurt, etc.); poke holes in the lid. Place this and a few books inside a large plastic storage container for several days or until your books smell fresh.

"The freezer method worked best for me," Gregerson told Helosie after a week of testing. She now stores the books in a better place.

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